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Green technology that may power your car

Posted by Royal Sundaram on 30 Mar 2011

Car is the preferred mode of transport for majority of people in the world! And why not? It’s convenient, comfortable and far safer than 2-wheeler! But, unfortunately, it also is a major source of pollution.

How? Car is fuelled by petrol (or diesel). For every litre of petrol consumed, 4.5 kg of CO2 is released in the atmosphere. CO2 is a greenhouse gas which is responsible for average increase in temperature of Earth, or global warming.

Thus a more eco-friendly technology for car is the need of hour. Luckily, automobile engineers from across the globe are already working on it. In future, the air you breathe may as well be the fuel for your car…or you may be able to recharge your car like your cellphone and drive! And the best part is, you needn’t feel guilty for causing CO2 emissions.

Let’s take a look at some of these greener techs in this article!

Battery + Petrol = Greener car –

Imagine cars that use both – a battery and petrol for power. Such a car is called Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV). The end result is an improved fuel efficiency of up to 28 Km/L, thus lesser emissions.

In India, currently Honda offers a HEV – Honda Civic Hybrid. The luxury sedan has a 1.3L i-VTEC engine combined with a proficient motor. It offers a mileage of around 21 Km/L.

In the pipeline are Maruti SX4 Hybrid (hatchback version), Honda CR-Z and Toyota Prius, which is the world’s best selling Hybrid car.

Charge it; drive it – Electric Car –

Electric cars are powered by a rechargeable battery, connected to motor, which propels the vehicle. In techie terms, it’s called a Battery Electric Vehicle, or BEV. You can charge the car the way you charge your mobile!

The downside of Electric Cars is limited distance which you can travel and speed.

In India, currently Mahindra Reva is the only electric car available. It can go up to 120 km in a single charge and reaches the top speed of 80 Km/h. The car can accommodate 2 adults and 2 kids. In future, you may see Maruti Eeeco and Renault Twizy ZE – a 2-seater car in the showrooms.

Car powered by air –

A car which is fuelled by air sounds like a ‘dream come true’! This car is called Compressed Air Vehicle or CAV. The cost of travelling 100 Km in a CAV can be as low as Rs. 50! The downside of this car – its performance, which drops as volume of air in engine reduces.

Tata is planning to launch the air car – MiniCat in India, in near future. Infact, if it hits the roads, it would truly be a zero-emission car.

H2 +O2 ——–> A green car! –

These cars, also referred as Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV), is another zero-emission car technology.  These cars use hydrogen and produce water. The car’s power is top notch and it is 100% green! However, the barrier is the availability of fuel. Though water is available in abundance, Hydrogen is not.

Fuel Cell Cars are currently on sale only in Japan and select cities in US. A few of them are – Honda FCX Clarity, Ford Edge, General Motors Sequel. Auto makers maintain that by 2015, FCVs may be commercially launched.

That was a brief write-up on how future cars would not only be cheaper to drive, but also eco-friendly. Till greener cars flood the market, let’s try to improve our car’s efficiency by driving and maintaining it better!

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